The quarterfinals at the ESL Pro League Finals ended yesterday as Team Liquid knocked out Team EnVyUs in three games.
Liquid’s map pick was Cobblestone, EnVyUs’ map pick was Train, and the decider leftover from the veto process was Nuke, the most daunting map in the Active Duty pool.
Liquid were able to take quick control of both sites easily with not much frag contention from the Counter-Terrorists. EnVyUs had a few successful defenses on B site, but it wasn’t enough for them to have a successful first half, which ended at 11-4.
The second pistol round went to EnVyUs after a madhouse ensued on the B site. Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz almost clutched a one-versus-four with limited time left during that same round. Economic troubles then surfaced for Liquid in the second half because of several lost full buys, allowing a Terrorist comeback that continued until they finally won a round at 11-11. Christophe “SIXER” Xia picked up a pivotal one-versus-three post-plant clutch on the B site that completed the comeback.
Shortly after, rounds were traded until EnVyUs executed the A site and defended it in a two-versus-two situation with the score at 14-14. That round broke Liquid and assured the 16-14 map win for EnVyus. SIXER led the team with a 24-16 kill-death ratio and the most impactful clutch of the map under his belt.
Both teams fought for A courtyard and ivy control throughout the first half, and a few B site executes were sprinkled in by EnVyUs. This mix forced rounds to go back and forth between teams. SIXER and Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer cleanly pulled off a two-on-five after faking B site and winning isolated one-on-one engagements. Liquid led by a slight 8-7 margin after the first half.
A pistol round win from Liquid gave the North Americans a slight momentum boost early in the second half. Effective A site aggression by Liquid forced EnVyUs to play overly passive outside the site, allowing Liquid to win five rounds in a row to close out the map 16-10. Jdm’s top-notch AWP picks and Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski’s fragging capabilities (with a 115.3 average damage per round) gave Liquid the edge in their Train win. Notably, Josh “jdm” Marzano hit a nutty wall bang at A main on Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom that could be considered VAC worthy.
Liquid absolutely shut down any Terrorist plots EnVyUs attempted in the first half of Nuke. The North Americans gave up only one round on their Counter-Terrorist side because of a swift one-versus-two clutch from SIXER on B site. Jdm also earned himself a nice AWP clutch in vents against two of EnVyUs’ players. The first half ended at 14-1.
Although EnVyUs won the second pistol round on a B retake, Liquid finished off the Frenchmen’s tournament run once their economy recovered. Liquid’s nuke domination came to a halt with a 16-4 scoreline. Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken played a huge role in ridding the bracket of EnVyUs with an impressive 125.7 ADR.
The playoff picture
Team Liquid advanced to the semifinals, and they’ll face off against North, a team they upset on Cobblestone in the group stage. This matchup will be a competition of who can prevent emotions from interfering with their gameplay and whose minds are stronger. Tilt will be a huge factor in keeping the maps close between these two teams. The last time Liquid won a semifinal was at last year’s ESL Cologne Major against Fnatic. North has not gotten past a semifinal since their days under the Team Dignitas banner.